If sugar is so bad, why are we still using it?

Sugar has been acclaimed a dietary demon. It causes hyperactivity, obesity, cravings, gut flora changes, blood glucose swings, and many other horrible conditions. We know. But then, if sugar is so bad, why are we still using it? 

If sugar is so bad, why water isn’t?

You’ve heard that sugar can kill you, but did you know that water can do the same? Sugar and water aren’t very different.

Consider this: drinking a cup of water to quench your thirst can be life-saving, but so can sugar when a diabetic goes into hypoglycemia. 

And this: drink three liters at once, and that life-saving water from before, can kill you nearly instantly. The same with sugar. Keep eating it in excess, and you will see the consequences for sure. 

It’s not about sugar, but its quantities

It does not matter how we want to simplify our world into “good” and “bad”, hormesis is a real thing, and its effects are going to continue running our lives.

We are dose-dependent. We can handle toxins, (eg. a tablet of Tylenol, a cup of green beans, and a smidgen of fluoride in toothpaste) in small amounts. But not large. 

It’s not that Tylenol is good or bad for you. It is whether the dose can do you harm. The dosing thing… sometimes we know that, sometimes we forget. 

if sugar is so bad 1

Surely, you won’t swallow a bottle of Tylenol, gulp down seven cans of RedBull, or make a mercury-laden tuna your daily staple.

But occasionally you may get yourself drunk past the recognition point, devour ten cookies just because they taste good, or overeat on those deliciously ripe cherries till the stomach lets you know.

If sugar is so bad, why are fruits and grains  ok?

Sugar is abundant in nature. There is glucose in potatoes, maltose in barley, fructose in fruits, and galactose in milk, and there is also that white powder on our tables.

Let’s get things straight. Just because you don’t eat food loaded with sugar (cookies, chocolate bars, or candies) it does not mean your doughnut-free menu is sugar resistant. Look below. How much sugar do you actually eat?

Content of sugar (or carbs that convert to sugar) in a typical:

With the above in mind, if sugar is so bad for you, why do you still gorge on fruits, grains, beans, and dairy? Because you think it’s good for you?

Why we are going to stick to white sugar 

We drink two cups of espresso a day. Each cup is sweetened with 1 teaspoon of sugar, not demerera, turbinado, brown, or extracted from coconuts, but good old, white table sugar.

Why? It tastes good, it’s cheap, and we can get it anywhere. And… it harms us less than a daily habit of a fruit smoothie, Tylenol, Redbull, bread, pasta, or risotto. 

Pick your poison. Know your limit.

What do you think is less harmful: a teaspoons of white sugar in coffee or 15 teaspoons of natural sugar in a fruit salad? 

If you are still scratching your head with hesitation, here is something that would clear the confusion:

Natural sugar does not differ from refined sugar in any way. Ask a chemist, pharmacist, or medical doctor. There isn’t any special molecule configuration assigned to the natural sugar. Its chemical structure is exactly the same as in the one coming from the sugar factory.

The body does not care. Regardless, where the sugar comes from: fruits, grain, beans, or a sugar bowl, it will be processed the by the body in the exact same fashion as it’s man-made version, whether we like it or not.

Food for Thought

For the body it does not matter what stories we make up in our heads and how we glorify natural sources. When it comes to metabolism, it’s the molecular arrangement that matters, not our wishful thinking.

That’s right. Health is a skill, not a feel-good slogan.

How much do you know about Health?